You can’t move an inch these days without encountering another story about how vinyl is rising from the ashes to reclaim its proper place at the top of the music-format food chain. And the numbers certainly seem to suggest there’s some truth to that notion. You may have also heard about the increased demand being put upon the few vinyl processing plants left. But a story in the New York Times has shed some light on one of the most prolific producers of vinyl on the planet, and it’s not what you might have expected.
It turns out a tiny village called Lodenice in the Czech Republic is the home of GZ Media. Run by Zdenek Pelc for the last 33 years, the company has weathered the rise and fall of everything from CDs to communism, mostly due to Pelc’s dogged determination to keep vinyl alive, at least in his little corner of the world.
“Frankly, if someone had told me back then that vinyl would return, I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. “Vinyl rose from the ashes.”
Today, with the resurgence of the format, GZ, which is currently operating on a 24/7 schedule to meet demand, has become one of the biggest pressing plants around. To give you some point of reference, the company currently boasts 49 presses, which include half a dozen new ones custom-made for GZ, which are apparently the first new machines made for vinyl in decades. So don’t let anybody tell you the record revolution hasn’t gone global.
If you’re an enthusiast of the wax, however, there’s now a new option for getting your music on the turntable – press it yourself.
For around $7,000 Australian, you can get a Desktop Record Cutter, and press all the vinyl you want in the comfort of your own home. According it its developers, the DRC uses “precision engineered technology for ease of use, [for new cutters], whilst allowing custom control, upgrades and modification for the experienced engineer.” That sounds like it’s going to be pretty easy to use, and a possible solution to the headache of dealing with traditional distributors and pressing plants.
For more information, you can check out the DRC’s Kickstarter page, where they’ve already tripled its goal, so this is definitely happening, and may end up being the answer that vinyl-loving musicians and producers have been hoping for.
Here’s a holiday gift to consider for the DJ/vinyl aficionado in your life: Daft Punk’s two live albums, Alive 1997 and Alive 2007, will be released by Rhino Records for the first time on double vinyl on December 23, 2014. Concurrently, the French duo will issue a sprawling limited edition box set featuring the following:
2 solid white vinyls, plus a vinyl bonus (Side A: the show’s encore (human after all / together / one more time (reprise) / music sounds better with you) /Side B: ‘ALIVE 2007’ pyramid logo etched), a 52 page book (pictures taken during the shows), a slipmat and a download card. A silver vinyl edition of Daft Punk’s first live album, ‘ALIVE 1997’, will accompany them.
A quick scan of Amazon reveals the box set is selling for $119.99. Not cheap, but definitely within reach for anyone who calls themselves a Daft Punk collector.
Audiophiles rejoice! Techno aficionado Roberto is launching a new label that is putting sound quality into the forefront. Fossil Archive will be the DJ’s new home after having released killer singles on Fachwerk, Affin, Artform and Be As One for years,. With his new venture, he’ll be delving into the essence of why so many listeners prefer vinyl.
“I come from a background where most releases were traditionally cut at 45rpm, with one track per side on a 12-inch record,” says Roberto. “The music always sounded great, as it was mastered and cut to its highest potential. Increasingly, these days there seems to be a trend where a lot of labels are squeezing a number of tracks onto each side of a 12-inch record. I want to go against that and make sure the music is presented in the purest way possible by cutting one track per side at 45rpm.”
As awesome as it is to hear tracks on crispy 7-inches, Roberto’s not making the Fossil’s output exclusively about the wax.
“The label will release primarily vinyl, although digital versions will also be available to purchase.”
So, everyone goes home happy. Fossil Archive’s inaugural release, “’Prolecanites Gurleyi” will be out February 23.